Kenya Rx pharma market to grow 11.8% a year

Posted on : Thursday , 9th October 2014

Kenya’s prescription pharmaceuticals market was worth $423.2 million last year, and is set to increase at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11.8% to 2019, say new forecasts.

The market is heavily dependent on the private clientele, and affordability remains a primary restraint, together with low reimbursement rates, says the research, from Frost & Sullivan.

Increasingly, urban consumers constitute Kenya’s primary market segment, while private hospital pharmacies remain the principal vendors within the market’s urban sector, it adds.

And while prescription drugs account for around 78% of the market, the fastest growth will occur for the over-the-counter (OTC) product sales, the study forecasts.

Cardiovascular, diabetes and anti-infectives constitute the largest and fastest-growing prescription market segments, and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) is reported to be Kenya’s leading pharmaceutical supplier, with around 12% market share. This is primarily the result of strategies pursued by the company in 2009 which reduced the prices of key products by approximately 40%. Around 41% of all anti-infective products sold in pharmacies were licensed to GSK.

GSK’s dominance in Kenya’s pharmaceutical market overall is largely attributable to its success in anti-infectives, which account for approximately 42% of all revenues generated in the prescription sector.  The prices of Amoxil (amoxicillin) 500mg, Suprapen (amoxicillin plus flucloxacillin) 500mg and Floxapen (flucloxacillin) 500mg “are particularly competitive within the respective active ingredient classes,” notes F&S healthcare team leader Ryan Lobban.

Cardiovascular is Kenya’s most dominant and fastest-growing prescription market segment, worth around $36 million in 2012 and expected to show a CAGR of 15.4% to 2019, while the diabetes market was valued at approximately $33.1 million last year and is forecast to rise at a CAGR of 13.5% during 2010-2019, the report also forecasts.

Based on revenue segmentation, the top-selling cardiovascular product in Kenya last year was Nebilit [nebivolol) 5mg, licensed to Menarini, accounting for approximately 7% of revenues for all prescription products sold during the year.

And within the diabetes therapeutic segment, Merck Serono’s Glucophage (metformin) 500mg was the most popular product, based on volume segmentation, accounting for approximately 19.8% of all oral hypoglycaemic tablets sold, says Mr Lobban.

He also notes Kenyan private consumers’ preference for branded innovator products, despite the high penetration of generic manufacturers within the overall industry. “A critical success factor within the Kenyan market is the use of distributors with established networks with key vendor outlets,” he says.

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